After 15 years of experience in massage therapy, Lyla Keeler hit the wall when it came to treating a client who was tall, muscular and taut.
“It was like trying to tenderize the floor,” she said. “During his sessions I just could not access his muscles the way he needed to be treated.”
The culprit had to be the massage table, she thought.
Rather than give up and bid farewell to the client, Keeler, a licensed massage therapist and medical massage practitioner, drew up a plan for a new type of massage table. The date was March 2011. “We took one of my old tables and gutted it just to see if the design would work,” she said.
Encouraged, she and her husband, James Keeler, built a table based on her drawings — a table with cutouts on the sides, for example.
Nine years later, after perfecting the design, Keeler found an attorney who secured the table’s patent pending status for Licensed Massage Tables with the U.S. Patent Office. Today, Keeler treats clients at the Powell Chiropractic and Fitness Center in Woodland Park.
The table has reciprocal benefits. Because the conventional wisdom for a career in massage therapy is 3 to 7 years, using her design can extend a career. “We’re constantly twisting our wrists or our shoulders get worn out,” she said.
With the new table, Keeler treats up to six patients a day. “My back isn’t worn out,” she said. “The table is not your typical rectangle.”
The table has indents on the side which eases the therapist’s ability to treat the core muscles. “If you work the core muscles, everything else will fall into place. That’s what this table does, so it’s better ergonomically for us and safer for the patient,” she said.
Chiropractor David Powell is a fan. “I’ve been on the table; it’s a unique and comfortable design,” he said. “The table is a help for the patient as well as the practitioner.”
Cord Prettyman, personal trainer and owner of Absolute Fitness in Woodland Park, and also a regular Courier columnist, agrees. “Massage therapy is physically a very demanding job with common problems being back, neck and shoulder pain,” he said. “I think the table is well-designed and will allow the masseuse or masseur to get into positions that will help alleviate some of the long-term physical challenges they experience throughout their career. I’m excited to see it hit the market.”
The Keelers are also building tables to sell. For information or to make an appointment, call 459-4523.